|Volume 15, No. 4
Dearly Beloved in the Lord,
On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we look to God with gratitude and humility for blessing us with
abundance. The week ahead will bring together families and friends, filling the seats around our dinner
table to share with those we love. Our attention must also turn to our brothers and sisters who did not
reap a season of bounty because drought, disease or manmade conflict denied them the fruits of their
labor. For these most vulnerable, we must do more than just remember.
It is the mission of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), the humanitarian agency of the
Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, to respond to Christ's call to help
our neighbors in need. Every year, we designate this day among the Orthodox community as IOCC
Sunday, and join in common purpose to lighten the burden of poverty stricken families, rebuild the lives
of mothers and children fleeing war torn homes, and restore the dignity of the infirm.
Since 1992, IOCC has represented the Orthodox faithful of North America in its tireless humanitarian
efforts around the world. Through your faithful support, families and communities in 50 countries have
been uplifted by more than $400 million in emergency relief and assistance. From its first humanitarian
airlift to the former Soviet Union, to its current efforts to deliver food and bedding to displaced Syrian
families, IOCC demonstrates daily what is possible through our united effort. Through IOCC's close work
with the Church, Greek families are receiving hot meals and medical care; Bosnian entrepreneurs are using
micro loans to create jobs and community prosperity, and Zimbabwe's babies have a fighting chance to
reach their fifth birthday because of new medical equipment and adequate medicine to treat infections.
Every day, wherever people are in need, IOCC puts your faith and compassion to work for the multitudes.
We call on you now to share your abundance, heeding the words of St. Paul to "look out not only for our own
interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:4). Through our Lord we will find faith taking
deeper root, greater love for others and greater joy in putting that faith into action in the service of others.
May this blessed season fill you and your family with the Holy Spirit, and join you in love and harmony
as we prepare to welcome His Glorious Nativity in Bethlehem.
With paternal blessing and love in Christ,
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America